Courage to Teach – Retreats

Courage to Teach® is a professional development opportunity that offers retreats for the personal and professional renewal of teachers, administrators and others in the public schools.

I would not be where I am without the opportunity for reflection, the purposeful intention, the support of other Courage participants and, especially the guidance and care of the facilitators.”  -Teri O’Donnell, Maria Carrillo High School Biology Teacher

TO Register Click here

for our 2019-2020 next Courage To Teach retreat series!  

The program is designed for the educators on whom our society depends for so much, but for whom we provide so little encouragement and support. The Circle retreats focus on neither technique nor school reform, but on renewing the inner lives of professionals in education by creating a Circle of Trust®.

The program offers educators opportunities to reflect on the inner dimensions of teaching and leading. Each retreat consists of 25-25 participants who gather to engage in honest self-reflection and explore questions about purpose, values, and commitment to their challenging work. In doing so, they increase their capacity to listen to self and others more deeply.

In large group, small group, and solitary settings, the heart of the educator is explored by making use of stories from their own journeys, reflections on classroom practice, and insights from poets, story-tellers, and diverse wisdom traditions. Participants are invited to speak honestly about their lives and work, and to listen and respond to each other and to themselves with encouragement and compassion.

Skilled facilitators are at the heart of this work. All Courage Facilitators have been trained by the Center for Courage and Renewal, founded by esteemed educator Parker J. Palmer. Their work is to create a trustworthy space a circle of trust within which participants explore their inner lives and vocational and life questions.

Retreats are held at the Santa Sabina Center in San Rafael, Ca.

Retreat Dates:

Feb 15-17, 2019

March 29-31, 2019

July 5-7, 2019

Sept 27-29, 2019

Feb 14-16, 2020


Rona Zollinger, Ph.D grew up under the snow capped Rocky Mountains and later at the shores of the Pacific Ocean.  It was place and community that inspired her toward a career as an educational entrepreneur. For 20 years, she has integrated transformative learning, place-based education, career exploration and outdoor play into the lives of young people as a high school teacher, mentor, industry partnership developer, program director, and agent of change.  Alongside her daily work in public education, Zollinger is also the co-founder of New Leaf Collaborative (a non-profit) where she directs and facilitates all 3 options in the Empowering Educators program. 

Teri O’Donnell is a high school Biology teacher at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa, and is a Center for Courage to Teach facilitator.

Celeste Hoffpauir, M.Ed. teaches Academic Leadership and Ethnic Studies at Leadership Public School, in Hayward, CA. Concerned by the teacher attrition rates all around her, she is committed to exploring professional and personal ways to sustain and revitalize the work of an urban educator. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband, Jay and daughter, Aurora.


$3,000 for the 5 retreat series (deposit of $750 due at registration). Participants must commit to attendance at all five retreats. The cost includes single occupancy lodging, meals, and materials.  10 Continuing Education Units are available through Dominican University.

For each retreat, participants may check into their rooms beginning at 4:00 p.m. Friday afternoon. We begin our first session before dinner on Friday and conclude with lunch on Sunday.

Download Courage to Teach Flyer Here:
CTT 2019-2020 Flyer (1)